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'It takes time, but it is getting done': B.C.'s top doctor says of COVID-19 school exposure notice delivery

Last Updated Dec 3, 2020 at 2:46 pm PDT

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Summary

Dr. Bonnie Henry says progress is being made when it comes to alerting families COVID-19 exposures in schools

Across B.C., more than 500 exposures have been recorded

Henry says the focus remains on families in the Fraser and Vancouver Coastal Health regions

VICTORIA  (NEWS 1130) — The provincial health officer says progress is being made when it comes to alerting families about possible COVID-19 exposures linked to schools.

Across B.C., more than 500 exposures have been recorded.

Dr. Bonnie Henry insists the rate of transmission inside schools remains low.

“Though we have quite a lot of exposure events where people have been in the school setting, there still is very rarely transmission in those settings and if it is, it’s mostly to one or most two other people and we’ve had very few outbreaks,” she said.

Some Lower Mainland parents have reported waiting up to seven days for public health workers to confirm test results or district administrators to issue notifications about an exposure at their child’s school.

Henry says the focus remains on families in the Fraser and Vancouver Coastal Health regions, but this is important across the province.

“And we are making progress in terms of catching up. Sometimes it’s a challenge because it may take time before we recognize that they’re in a school situation. There are tools being developed and shared with principals, with families. If you do get that notification, you know what to do.”

She adds the focus is making sure families — and other education stakeholders — are notified as soon as possible.

“There’s been quite a lot of work with districts, with the Ministry of Education, with my colleague Dr. Réka Gustafson at BCCDC, is leading that with the team particularly focused in Fraser and Vancouver Coastal where we know most of the transmission events are happening.”

Nearly 60 per cent of the more than 500 exposures tracked by NEWS 1130’s Liza Yuzda are in the Fraser Health region.

For a breakdown of exposures in each health region, click here.